Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tantris - Session 4

Game Date 5/30/09

Rolan Daan (Bryan) - Elf Rogue
Rhogar Burnscale (Rick) - Dragonborn Fighter
Nara Cavell (Matt) - Human Cleric of Pelor

Nara's Journal:

It is literally a dark day for the Church of Pelor and all the goodly races.

When I last wrote, we were working for Lord De Rais, escorting a caravan. The mission could have gone better, but eventually we fulfilled our obligations. I am now working on an assignment to locate a missing child of the De Sillis family. Or I was, but we recently learned that the child has been killed. I have been working with Rolan and Rhogar again, who have been very helpful despite their unorthodox methods. I have reservations about putting this in writing, but we suspect that Lord De Rais is responsible for for the death of the De Sillis child, as well as several other troubling events of late.

I won't commit to paper how we discovered this information, but we now believe that De Rais may have hired Orcs to kill the De Sillis child. And when the Orcs failed their task, De Rais manufactured evidence that Gruumsh-followers were responsible for the child's death. We followed an Orc from the De Rais compound, in an effort to interrogate him. But of course the Orc wasn't in the mood to talk, and we had to kill him in self-defense.

Shortly afterwards, the Orc's house was burned down by riders from the De Rais compound. As soon as we confirmed the riders' origin, we returned to Tantris and informed High Priest Josel.

Afterwards, I wanted to continue to investigate this mystery, but we didn't know where to look. However, we did know of one possible ally, an Elf who had recently helped Rolan out of a crisis. We knew approximately where this Elf roamed, and we set out for that area. We set up camp, in the hopes we would be contacted.

Instead, we were found by an Imp. It was a tough fight, but we managed to defeat the foul creature. No longer wanting to stay in the area, we travelled to the De Winter estate. The De Winters are devout worshippers of Pelor, and I previously found their household to be very hospitable. Our mysterious Elf ally also has connections to that area, so it seemed like a safe destination. How wrong we were.

When we arrived, we found the De Winter house to be under seige by demonic attackers, led by what looked like De Rais himself... or at least an unholy, twisted version of the man. We were attacked by some sort of devil (an Evistro, I believe), and we were lucky to survive his onslaught. Rhogar in particular fought valiantly, ready to sacrifice everything to protect us from the damned monster. Once the abomination was defeated, a large number of Elves - who we believe to be of the same group as Rolan's rescuer - appeared and put out the fire using magical arrows and elemental summons.

After the fire, we saw a large symbol on the ground in front of the ruins. It was the symbol of Asmodeus, Ruler of the Nine Hells. We made haste to Tantris, where I once again informed High Priest Josel of the most recent developments.

While the De Winter home may have been destroyed, we learned that the De Winters themselves were staying in their other home within the city. We attempted to visit them, but were not allowed in. I left a message, requesting audience with them at their earliest convenience. But I found out later that they were very ill, and unable to see visitors. This was not an isolated incident; rumors of a spreading plague had many citizens afraid.

We had very few leads, so we decided to pay a visit to the De Sillis compound. Rolan showed considerable skill climbing over the wall, and once inside he witnessed something blood-chilling. Another demon - possibly a Glabrezu by his description - created a planar gate and disappeared through it. It left a symbol of Pelor behind. Rhogar and I discovered that the front gate was open and unguarded, so we entered and reunited with Rolan. We explored the house, and found many dead bodies. It appeared that a battle had been fought, between the De Sillis clan and followers of Pelor. We found no bodies of children, though we knew children had lived there. We eventually found the bodies of Lord and Lady De Sillis themselves, impaled upon the blades of their enemies, frozen in battle in a scene that told the whole story.

...Maybe. I still don't know if this was an actual attack by other followers of my deity, or if there is another layer to this puzzle.

Before we could ponder it for too long, however, we heard others coming into the building. We hid. From Rolan's view under the bed, he saw another Imp run by the door, and he swears it saw him. Shortly thereafter, some people entered the room, but they only stayed long enough to confirm the fate of the De Sillis family. As soon as they left, we decided to leave ourselves. I most definitely did not consider burning down the building, in order to destroy evidence that might put Pelor in a bad light. Such a thought would never occur to me.

Hoping for some answers, we once again returned to Tantris. We arrived in the morning, and I immediately sought out Josel despite my weariness. He confirmed that that this attack was not authorized by our church. So either another church of Pelor assaulted De Sillis estate, or someone else is trying to make it look that way. The types of demons we'd witnessed were not easily controlled, so either the summoner is very powerful, or very careless. When I mentioned the missing children, Josel reminded me that child sacrifices are sometimes needed to summon the kinds of horrors we had seen.

I tried once again to see the De Winters. I was informed that only authorized Clerics of Pelor were allowed to see them, and those were trying desperately to cure their illness. Looks like I found a way in. We went straight to my temple to get permission to join the healers. When we arrived at the church, I noticed an elegant carriage parked outside. I noted that it had the symbol of Coyn on it, but I was too preoccupied for that to sink in at the time.

As I entered the church, I found that High Priest Josel was being escorted out of the building by representatives of Coyn. I tried get Josel's attention, but another of Coyn's followers informed me that I was not allowed to speak to him. Naturally I found this to be a troubling development, but I wasn't about to be diverted from my plan. I knew someone had to be in charge, so I went to the acting High Priest and asked for his permission to assist the healers at the De Winter home. I think having someone else in charge may have actually improved my chances; Josel might have seen through my necessary deception. In any event, I soon found myself with permission to visit the De Winters.

Not that it helped. The De Winters were too feverish to remain conscious, and even if they'd been awake, I wouldn't have been able to speak to them freely with the other Clerics there. So I asked the other Clerics if there was any way I could help them, and they told me they could use some Mandrake root. This rare root is found in the Sleeping Wood. I decided I would use the temple library to learn how to find the root, and we would leave in the morning for the Sleeping Wood.

When we arrived at the temple, I found that the followers of Coyn had an even greater presence. I was starting to feel uncomfortable about their occupation of the temple. Nevertheless, I had a job to do. Rolan told me that he and Rhogar had something to do, so we parted with the intention of meeting up again in the morning. The acting High Priest was in the library, absorbed in his own studies. I soon found all I needed to know about Mandrake roots. I also overheard a conversation between the High Priest and someone else... I didn't catch all of it, but what I heard was somewhat scandalous. I believe he has been paid off by the church of Coyn. As soon as I could, I returned to my room and started getting ready for bed.

Fortunately I was still dressed when Rhogar and Rolan burst into my room. Rolan told me he'd had an encounter with a hooded figure, who had requested his help. The details are still vague, but Rolan expects to be contacted again soon. We no longer felt safe at the temple, so we decided to climb out my window and spend the night somewhere else. As we were about to leave, we noticed something odd. Rolan now had a new sword strapped to his back. It was a bastard sword, much larger than the type of weapon Rolan usually weilds. Rhogar tried to touch the hilt, but it became too hot for him to touch. Rolan, however, was able to touch it with no problem.

We still left through the window, spent the night at Rolan's place (mental note: show Rolan how a broom works), and left the following morning for the Sleeping Wood. It was a day-and-a-half ride, but we didn't run into any trouble. We explored the woods until we found enough of the mandrake root. While there, Rolan had yet another odd encounter with another Elf.

We rode back to town, and I went straight to the De Winter house to drop off the mandrake root. I hope it helps; I will be sure to check up on their progress. We then returned to Rolan's dwelling, where we are as I write this. We have not settled on our next course of action. We will most likely send Rolan out to listen for rumors.

The effects of the spreading evils have even touched the sky. There is no longer a moon at night, though it should be quite visible this time of the month. The daytime skies have turned an ominous gray, as if the impending doom is preventing Pelor's love from reaching the world. Soon I fear we will no longer be able to distinguish day from night, and the grace of Pelor will be unable to find my heart. I strongly suspect that it is Lord De Rais who has been summoning the devils responsible for the plague and the darkness. But at the moment I have no way to prove it, and no way to stop him.

With all my love and all my spirit, I pray to Pelor for inspiration and guidance. For thine is the light and the way.

- Nara Cavell

This was a very exciting session, with a lot of content to absorb. I definitely don't remember everything that happened, but hopefully that was all the most relevant information. At the very least I think I have a few events out of order, but with all that's happened, it's quite possible Nara's memory is as fuzzy as mine. It's funny, in retrospect you notice a lot of foreshadowing that flew right over your head the first time, not to mention the occasional missed plot hook.

When the trio first encountered the acting high priest, Rolan noticed something gold in his pocket. Later, when Nara visited the temple library to research mandrake root, Rolan broke into the priest's quarters to look around (with Rhogar acting as lookout). He didn't find anything, and he made sure not to mention his break-in to Nara later. He was on the way out of the Priest's quarters when he saw the mysterious hooded character, and followed him. After speaking to him, Rolan returned to Rhogar and they tried to walk out the front doors, but were spooked by Coyn's guards, which is why they sought Nara's room instead.

XP Rewards:
100 each for general gameplay, 50 each for the Imp, 84/83/83 for the Evistro (the XP didn't divide 3 ways, so Rhogar got the extra point for being a badass), and some change (50/55/60) for individual acts of bravery, skill, and/or roleplaying.
Rhogar - 284 XP (100+50+84+50) - Total XP now 759
Rolan - 288 XP (100+50+83+55) - Total XP now 768
Nara - 293 XP (100+50+83+60) - Total XP now 783

Saturday, May 23, 2009

LFR - Darkness in Delzimmer

5/23/09 - The Game Keep
Module EAST1-4: East Rift: Darkness in Delzimmer

Krusk (Rick) - Level 1 Half-Orc Rogue (Brutal)
Voranna (Matt 1) - Level 2 Eladrin Ranger (Archer)
Also in the group were a Dwarf Avenger, an Eladrin Paladin of Pelor, a Half-Elf Bard, and a Half-Elf Wizard.

This session had the most roleplay of any LFR game I've played so far. In fact, the session was half over before we had a combat encounter. We were starting to wonder if we'd even see any action.

It was a very lively group; Rick and I were the quietest ones there (as usual). This session was particularly entertaining due to the excellent roleplaying of the party's Dwarf Avenger, who was obsessed with money and drew out long contracts for every mission we accepted.

The rest of the group had such a rapport, that there were times when I felt like Rick and I were just along for the ride, sitting in on the rest of the group's good time. It's going to take a while to get over my natural shyness, to the point where I feel comfortable staying in character around people I don't know very well.

Rick got to use his thievery and stealth skills. He kept rolling low when trying to open locks, then succeeding on the STR checks to smash the locks. This may well become a running gag for his character.

We had two combat encounters total, though it's possible that some of the earlier encounters might have had the potential for violence. I think Rick and I pulled our own weight in these fights. We didn't technically have a Defender in the party, and some of us took a good beating as a result. Rick was nearly pulverized by the final boss, and finished the session at -2 hit points.

Krusk and Voranna each received 560 XP, 125 gp, and a Potion of Healing.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tantris - Session 3

Game Date 5/2/09

Rolan Daan (Bryan) - Elf Rogue
Rhogar Burnscale (Rick) - Dragonborn Fighter
Nara Cavell (Matt) - Human Cleric of Pelor

Our last session had left us with the MacGuffin in our hands, ready to turn it in for reward.

Fast forward one month, and we've received our rewards. Rhogar and Rolan each received some platinum pieces (Nara's was donated to the church.) The three of us separated and went back to our normal lives. Rhogar and Rolan quickly found that much had changed in their absence. Rolan could no longer receive jobs from his normal contacts. Rhogar's favorite fighting pits had been shut down. Guards patrolled the streets, and it was clear that the city was in a state of near panic.

Meanwhile, Nara was informed of a kidnapping, and she undertook the task to find the missing child. She knew she would need help on this mission, and the church gave her two Platinum Pieces to hire some help (as well as 40 gold for her own use). So of course, she sought out Rolan and Rhogar.

Finding them wasn't difficult. Coming up with a plan was. The name of the victim had not been released, so we didn't actually know who we were searching for. All we knew is that it was a child from one of the three following families: Duwenter,De Sillis, or De Rais. All three families lived north of Tantris, a bit too far away for walking. Also, we knew approximately where the kidnapping took place, which was also north of town. There was also evidence that the kidnappers were followers of Gruumsh.

We needed some horses. We went to a horse dealer, but his prices were too high. We got him to drop his prices a few times, but they were still too high. Finally we ran into a Paladin from Nara's church, and he talked the dealer into giving us the horses for free. We still promised to return the horses when we were done, if possible.

We went to the spot of the kidnapping first. The ground was too trampled to find any useful tracks. We did, however, nearly get shot by a not-too-friendly elf (or elflike being). The elf didn't tell us much, and considered it a human affair. But at least he didn't shoot us. We did find out that the kidnappers were probably not Orcs (something we had previously assumed because they were Gruumsh-worshippers).

We travelled to House Duwenter first. Nara knocked on the door, asked if they'd seen anything, and was given the brush-off. Nara knocked again, this time introducing herself as a representative of the Church of Pelor, and was given the royal treatment. Turns out House Duwenter is devoted to Pelor, and the party was given an exquisite dinner and oppulent rooms for the night.

In the morning, we left for House De Sillis. It turns out the De Sillis's were the ones whose son had been kidnapped. They weren't able to give us much info, though. They had already been putting all their considerable resources to the task, and we really didn't know anything that would help them. And since they were greiving, they weren't in a very friendly mood.

House De Rais and House De Sillis are kin to each other, and we'd learned that De Rais had lent some considerable help to De Sillis to search for the young boy. So we headed for House De Rais next. The guards wouldn't let us in, but they explained that the master wasn't seeing visitors, as he was in mourning for the death of his nephew.

Death? Oops. The guard explained that the child's body had been found by a merchant caravan, near the entrance to the Sleeping Wood. We also saw a mysterious rider enter the De Rais home (guess he wasn't against all vistors), and Rolan noticed that the rider had a peculiar smell.

So, we headed back to Tantris, rested, then went to the Sleeping Wood. There we found some guards (also there due to the same crime.) They gave us a slightly different story about the discovery of the body, and we found that the merchant caravan story was false. In fact, merchants never travel into that Wood. So... why had the De Rais guard lied to us? We decided to find out.

We stayed another night in Tantris, and Rolan bought a climber's kit. While there, a shifty character offered to sell Rolan some high-quality thieves tools. But when Rolan tried to pay, it turned out his platinum pieces (the ones rewarded to him by De Rais) were phony.

The next day we rode out to the De Rais compound and waited for dark. Rolan scaled the wall and hopped down to the other side, snuck around and listened.

He heard an argument between Lord De Rais and an Orc. Something about how De Rais had hired the Orc for a job, he had failed, so De Rais had had to hire someone else. The Orc rode off, De Rais turned around, and spotted Rolan. Rolan attempted to escape using his grappling hook, but the rope got cut by a spell. De Rais was probably about to do something evil to Rolan, when he heard someone screaming from the front gates. De Rais told Rolan to stay right there, and ran off. Then a mysterious elf appeared and helped Rolan escape. (Possibly the same elf we met earlier, but we didn't ask.)

Rolan met up with Rhogar and Nara, and the trio fled the compound. Lacking any other clues, we followed the Orc rider's trail, until we reached a cabin. The Orc's horse was tied up, so we sent Rhogar into the house to look around.

While Rhogar was in the house, Nara and Rolan were attacked by the Orc -and hard. Rhogar heard the scuffle, and burst out of the house, bravely intercepting the Orc's blows. He was a tough opponent, but the three of us managed to defeat him. The orc was missing an eye, and had an eye painted on his forehead, a sign of certain Gruumsh-worshippers.

We decided to camp for the night, but wanted to move away from the house in case any more Orcs came along. As soon as we got some distance away, more riders approached, which we believed to be De Rais's men. They burned down the house.

This is where we stopped. We haven't even decided for sure whether we want to rest for the night, or immediately follow the riders. We need to know why De Rais arranged the killing of his own nephew. We could go encounter De Rais, but that's probably suicide. We could go back to De Sillis and tell him what we've found out, but would he believe us over his own kin? We could also go back to Tantris and tell the high priest, since he's the one who gave Nara the mission in the first place, but that doesn't really accomplish anything. In any event, we have a couple of weeks to think about it.

XP Rewards:
175 each (75 for previous session, 100 for this session)
Rhogar - For bravery (protecting his teammates from the orc): 50 xp
Rolan - For bravery (sneaking into De Rais compound alone): 55 xp
Nara - For roleplay (roleplay as party leader): 65 xp